Podcasts Please
October 21, 2015 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I love 99 Percent Invisible, Radiolab, Serial & This American Life. What else do I love?

I just started listening to podcasts in the last year (thanks Serial!) & am running out of episodes of the ones that I currently listen to. I need recommendations.

Here's what I like:
*Stories about people
*Personal & funny stories
*Stories about crazy coincidence or stories where a million things had to happen in juuuuust the right way for them to have happened at all
*Scientists who are also entertaining
*Historians who are also entertaining
*Predictions about the future from people who actually know what they're talking about
*Interviews containing any of the above

Here's what I don't like:
*People reading essays, or people who sound like they're reading essays
*Sad things
*Things that sound like college lectures
*Celebrity interviews
*Sports in general
*Comedians doing comedy
posted by thebrokenmuse to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 126 users marked this as a favorite
You might like Futility Closet.
posted by slightlybewildered at 1:14 PM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

You may enjoy Sawbones, which is about dubious medical history. It's not necessarily by historians but one of the cohosts is a medical doctor who also has a pretty solid grasp of medical history. Unfortunately, the other cohost is sort of an obnoxious comedian, but I seem to be in the minority on this opinion of him.
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on October 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Love + Radio, Everything is Stories, The Moth
posted by fmnr at 1:16 PM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Mystery Show may be right up your alley
I also have a lot of love for The Tobolowski Files
posted by Mchelly at 1:17 PM on October 21, 2015

Also there is You Must Remember This which is an exhaustively-researched podcast about the history of early Hollywood. There was a season of it (15? episodes) just about Charles Manson so you may want to listen around those and then dive into the Manson stuff if you feel like it. Also, it's scripted but she's a good enough radio personality that it doesn't sound particularly scripted.
posted by griphus at 1:18 PM on October 21, 2015 [7 favorites]

I just happened to see a nice list that included these podcasts. Perhaps the others on the list would similarly appeal to you. http://kk.org/cooltools/the-best-factual-podcasts/
posted by juggler at 1:18 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Story Collider. Story-telling podcast told by scientists or about science.

Nthing the Moth.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 1:18 PM on October 21, 2015

I'll throw in another recommendation for the Moth. They always have a selection of fantastic storytellers.

For science, you might want to check out Star Talk featuring Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
posted by Telpethoron at 1:24 PM on October 21, 2015

For stories about people: Fugitive Waves, Criminal, Here by Monsters, Unfictional, The Memory Palace

For personal/funny stories: The Mortified Podcast, Radio Diaries, Mystery Show

For history: Backstory
posted by OrangeDisk at 1:27 PM on October 21, 2015

I bet you would like Star Talk (science from Neil DeGrasse Tyson + many guests) and Reply All (internet-related stories). MAYBE Backstory, which is an excellent history podcast, but possibly falls more in the "college lecture" category (it is done by professors, but I do think they are engaging).
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:28 PM on October 21, 2015

Scott Carrier's Home of the Brave. Among the best radio storytellers I've heard, in no small part because even if you know Carrier doesn't believe his subjects, he's quiet, he lets them speak; he's kind to and respectful of them as humans.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 1:29 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing Mystery Show. It is so, so delightful.
posted by something something at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2015

Nthing Criminal (but sometimes sad). Reply All has had a few really good episodes but I haven't taken a deep dive yet. Maybe Judge John Hodgman?
posted by getawaysticks at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2015

I like the Slate Culture Gabfest, though it's a panel discussion format, which you don't mention on your like or dislike list. I think it's a good version of the format. I also like Slate's Double X podcast in the same vein.

You may like Freakanomics, which I find similarish to Radiolab. You may like Snap Judgement, which is kind of in the This American Life vein but it may depend whether you find the host irritating (I do, sometimes). You may like The Memory Palace, those are very short. You may like The Mystery Show (this one is divisive), Start Up and/or Reply All, all of which are by TAL people.

FWIW, I got tired of The Moth after a while.
posted by vunder at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Invisibilia (there are only 6 episodes so far but it's very Radiolab-ish) and nthing The Memory Palace.
posted by in a dark glassly at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

Detective (I mean it's about a homicide detective, but it's no more sad than Serial, which is also about a murder.) The latest episode is super personal storyish.

Seconding Home of the Brave.
posted by Jahaza at 1:44 PM on October 21, 2015

Memory Palace so hard. That's the only podcast thats ever made me sob openly on the bus.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:46 PM on October 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

British History Podcast is fun and accurate though I've only listened to the first 10.
The Infinite Monkey Cage for scientists who are entertaining.
No Such Thing as a Fish: Interesting true facts from researchers on QI.
posted by Wysawyg at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Reply All, The Allusionist, BackStory, Planet Money, In Our Time and Science Friday are my recommendations. Good Job Brain if you like trivia (not listed in either category).
posted by General Malaise at 1:47 PM on October 21, 2015

Probably Science is one of my favourites. It mainly fits your criteria of "Scientists who are also entertaining".
posted by chrillsicka at 1:54 PM on October 21, 2015

I listen to those (except RadioLab).

I ALSO listen to:

The Allusionist
Reply All
The Moth
Story Collider
Life of the Law
The History of English
Mystery Show

I haven't listened to The Hidden Brain but it's on my list.
posted by jeather at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Snap Judgement and Strangers are two I really like
posted by platypus of the universe at 2:02 PM on October 21, 2015

posted by barnoley at 2:04 PM on October 21, 2015

This Is Actually Happening and Everything Is Stories.
posted by mothershock at 2:11 PM on October 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

You might like Science for the People.
posted by wavelette at 2:12 PM on October 21, 2015

another vote for Love + Radio
posted by monologish at 2:21 PM on October 21, 2015

You might also like Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast. It possibly crosses your line of "things that sound like lectures" but Carlin is a fairly compelling presenter and he tends to pull out individual accounts to help tell the larger story.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think you'd like the TED Radio Hour and Dear Sugar.
posted by reksb at 2:29 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

No Such Thing as a Fish
posted by synecdoche at 2:35 PM on October 21, 2015

God, I found Mystery Show SO ANNOYING. The stories themselves are great, but the banter and disclaimers between the hosts and interjections and fake-convo was just exhausting. I'd love the Mystery Show without the annoying banter.
posted by barnone at 3:22 PM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I also like Snap Judgement, although the show does sometimes have fiction/radio-play-esque segments sometimes (but with recent episodes you can download segments separately). It's close to the This American Life format -- several stories around a theme.
posted by darksong at 3:24 PM on October 21, 2015

Sex Death & Money
Planet Money
You're the Expert
posted by kbuxton at 3:54 PM on October 21, 2015

NPR's How to Do Everything. "We're half advice show, half survival guide". Although it might not seem like it from the title, it hits your top 5 bullet points.

Also another vote for Planet Money.
posted by cgg at 4:19 PM on October 21, 2015

In Our Time
Revolutions (seriously good history dealing with...revolutions)
posted by Thorzdad at 5:24 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Super surprised no one has recommended the TED Talks that they release as podcasts, which seems to hit most of your likes. I find them a bit hit and miss, just like the normal TED Talks, but they are usually funny and innovative.

I'd also recommend Damn Interesting, Footnoting History, The Memory Palace, and Lore, all of which land in the weird history genre. Someone has already recommended The Story Collider; if you like that, check out Transistor, which is super similar. If you like The Moth, then RISK! is the R-rated version of The Moth. And if you like Everything Is Stories, check out This Is Actually Happening, which is a very similar format but with more frequent, shorter episodes.
posted by possibilityleft at 5:33 PM on October 21, 2015

The Black Tapes Podcast

Oh man- I just discovered both of these this past week and I am obsessed. Its like all those shows you like rolled up into one, but even more imaginative!
posted by KMoney at 6:52 PM on October 21, 2015

Adaptors is a neat show about people and science and scientists.

Science VS is cool too.

History on Fire. Pretty new but really good.

Check out everything from The Heard podcast network for stories about people. Actually, Arrvls is right up your alley.

It's a bit of a risk but the Hound Tall Discussion series is a neat show hosted by a comedian with a selection of really fascinating guest experts. Always learn something, though some of the comedian panelists are better than others so it can fall flat.

Dan Carlin is required listening. He apparently doesn't read from a script and he doesn't lecture so much as he tells 12-hour long historical stories. Just incredible.
posted by Tevin at 7:03 PM on October 21, 2015

Seconding Sawbones! I also love Planet Money (I know, i know, it doesn't sound interesting but there's actually a lot of overlap with 99PI style and content).
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:00 PM on October 21, 2015

I like the ones on your list, here are three more I also enjoy:

Perhaps You Are Not So Smart — it's about cognitive biases and interviews with scientists about them (there is the occasional essay-reading, but overall I like it).

Maybe also the Slack Variety Pack — as the name implies, it varies, but ticks a few of your "like" boxes and none (that I've heard) of your "dislike" boxes.

I've also enjoyed Slate's Working, about how people do their jobs.
posted by brentajones at 9:06 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hidden Brain: Fun and interesting look into the weird things human brains do without us noticing. The host has guests on to do real-time experiments to illustrate his points.

Switched on Pop: A musician and a musicologist talk about what makes certain pop songs tick. But whatever you're thinking that would be like, imagine it ten times more fun. Like, you'll find out what Cee-Lo Green's Fuck You would sound like if it was sung in a minor key, what Kacey Musgraves has in common with Radiohead, they get Breakmaster Cylinder to imagine what part three of Justin Beiber's so-called "Existential Suite" would sound like. It's fantastic.

The Sewers of Paris: Gay men talk about the pop culture and entertainment that has most influenced their lives and what it's meant to them. It can get really personal or just be an opportunity to get really nerdy depending on the guest.
posted by moons in june at 11:40 PM on October 21, 2015

Answer Me This
posted by pracowity at 2:48 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cant go wrong with Late Night Live.
posted by flabdablet at 6:59 AM on October 22, 2015

Amendment to my comment above. It's not the Mystery Show that was annoying! I'm sorry! It was the Thinking Sideways podcast. I subscribed to them on the same day and got them confused! If I could edit my comment above to reflect that I would but the time has passed!
posted by barnone at 11:10 AM on October 22, 2015

I love the ones you listed.


Reply All (you MUST listen to this given your list of podcasts -- totally up the same alley)
How to Do Everything
The Allusionist
Planet Money
The Moth

I actually do find Mystery Show kind of annoying; I'm not sure why, since I absolutely love the format. I also find Snap Judgment irritating.
posted by odin53 at 11:46 AM on October 22, 2015

I love Planet Money very, very much. It's the great granddaddy of some of those you've liked so far, and it's still going strong. http://www.npr.org/sections/money/

I think it hits all of the things you love, and I've never heard an episode that hits the things you hate, so yeah, give it a shot!
posted by talldean at 11:49 AM on October 22, 2015

Day late and a dollar short, but in case you haven't come back to see all the great suggestions, I have a couple of others I think are a fit for you:

On Being with Krista Tippitt


To The Best of our Knowledge
A listing of their shows can be found here (gives you a good idea of the intelligent breadth of subject matter).

Sorry for the tardiness!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 6:32 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

You are not so smart. Clever insights to self delusion (Decision fatigue, reframing.) Be a better you.

Hardcore history. Well researched insights from a fan of history. I never liked history and this podcast has me riveted. Bonus, some of the shows are 3+ hours - and I treasure that!

Futility Closet - a couple talks about odd things that have happened (like the one square inch of Yukon that was given away from Quaker oats to over a million people)
posted by filmgeek at 9:53 AM on October 30, 2015

You might like Longform -- in depth interviews with interesting people, including some you'll recognize based on what you listen to now. Recently: Cheryl Strayed, Ira Glass, Alex Blumberg, Anna Sale, etc.
posted by Frenchy67 at 7:40 PM on October 30, 2015

True storytelling from Philadelphia: The First Person Arts podcast. The Bench Warmer's podcast is true stories from scientists, by MeFite Archibald Edmund Binns.
posted by knile at 10:21 PM on October 30, 2015

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